Do issues in Asia fall within the scope of Asian American media?

Originally posted at Asian-Nation.

The Asian American blogosphere and print media, which in many ways set the terms of the discussion around Asian American issues, rarely touches on issues outside the United States. I don’t remember the last time I read an article in an English-language Asian American blog about political or social problems in Asia. English-medium Asian American bloggers have been silent on issues like the island disputes in Northeast and Southeast Asia, Burma and Thailand’s unacceptable treatment of Rohingya refugees, and the election of a dictator’s daughter to the presidency in South Korea. Even the Delhi gang rape incident, a tragedy that caught the attention of people the world over, scarcely got mentioned in Asian American media. Hyphen Magazine’s blog published a post about it, but it originally came from the Asia Society’s Asia Blog.

Are events in Asia outside of the scope of “Asian American” media, and if so, why? Is it a reaction to the unending accusations of being foreign and un-American? Is it because organizing around the pan-ethnic “Asian” label makes people loath to make statements on sensitive ethnonational conflicts across the Pacific, lest the solidarity built up in the American context breaks down? Does our US-born population’s general lack of language skills and knowledge of non-American history make these issues inaccessible and incomprehensible?

Readers, what are your thoughts?

  1. As an Asian and previous American green card holder, I do believe global affairs, and Asian in particular, should be the purview of “all” Americans. 2 of the world’s emerging powers, India and China, are right there. There are trouble spots on the Yunnan border, North Korea, central Asia, the Spratlys all of which could flare up like the Middle East. China is the largest buyer of US government bonds… etc etc.

    As for whether Asian Americans need to have a special interest… Well my college and late 20 year old kids are Asian American and they do because it’s about heritage and being interested in where your family once came from.

  2. Ah, I forgot to say – Thank you. That was a good and important question!

  3. I agree with Audrey (above) about how world affairs should be of interest to everyone, not only those of that heritage.

    In Australia, the nation’s ‘amenability’ to Asia, and Asian capital specifically, influences local public sphere sentiments. It becomes of particular interest to Asian Australians how our government is approaching and treating our global neighbours because these attitudes often have a trickle-down effect.

    This issue feeds into the broader one of what diasporic Asian communities are seen to have a stake in – cultural community representatives can often be approached about ‘Asian’ issues or those of race and multiculturalism, but rarely are they the go-to people for broad society policies such as education or health.

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